Rep Walter B Jones Jr (R-NC) is one, Joe McLaughlin, county commissioner and retired Army major, is pushing hard. In Jones' 6 terms he's never had a primary opponent and is now being deserted by GOP officials all across the district while McLaughlin has this to say,
"His is a message of despair, a message of defeat," McLaughlin told the appreciative crowd as he derided Jones, accusing him of abandoning the troops, President Bush, even talk-show host Rush Limbaugh. Per LA Times.Jones has taken on the task of writing letters to the families of every service member killed in Iraq to honor their service. A constituent who disagrees with Jones on the war plans to vote for him stating that for some it's just a job but for Jones it is a service. It is shaping up to be a tough primary for Jones, who stated his view on the matter thus:
"The Kool-Aid drinkers, those who don't know the truth, who only hear the half-truths and the opinions of a Rush Limbaugh, they believe it. But I know too many" voters. When my days end in Congress, I would rather be able to say I did what was right for America, rather than my party did this, my party did that."It's been pointed out to me that I'm pretty rough on Republicans, OK, I surely do loath some of them, but while there might be plenty of points of disagreement between myself and Rep Jones, I do respect him.
It isn't only lowly Representatives who've gotten in trouble with the Party faithful, Sen Chuck Hagel (R-NE) watched primary opponent Atty Gen Jon Bruning's lead jump from 9 to 24 percent when voters were told of Hagel's criticism of George II and support for the Democratic withdrawal plan. Hagel no longer intends to run.
Rep Ric Keller (R-FL) is a "white flag Republican" for opposing the troop surge and faces two primary opponents. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), a Vietnam vet who joined Democrats in pull out votes, faces a well funded primary opponent who has the support of many GOP officials including former Gov Robt. L Erlich.
If you've wondered why GOP Congressmen have defied national sentiment on the Iraq war, these folks are examples. What ever the General Elections might hold, they have to get past Primaries to have a shot...it doesn't look like some of them will. Before Democrats begin to crow about seat pick ups it would be smart to recognize that these people represent the principled opposition, reasonable people to deal with and their replacements in hard (R) districts will be something else entirely. It must suck to be a Republican.